Iran, Turkey agree to work together to ease tension in Middle East

At a joint news conference in Tehran with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, broadcast live on Turkish television, Erdogan said the referendum had no legitimacy and had only been recognised by Israel.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to arrive in Tehran on Wednesday.

Shia Muslim Iran and mainly Sunni Muslim Turkey, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member, have traditionally had cool relations but both have been alarmed by the Iraqi Kurds' vote for independence in a Sept 25 referendum, fearing it will stoke separatism among their own Kurdish populations.

He said the two countries want security and stability in the Middle East.

"Turkey will import more gas from Iran".

"We will not accept a change of borders under any circumstances".

Erdogan also said the goal of tripling the Turkish-Iranian trade remained on the agenda and the two countries would conduct trade in their own currencies to limit foreign exchange pressures.

Turkey is honest in voicing opposition to Iran's some policies, particularly in Syria, Iraq, and Gulf region, Cavusoglu said.

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All the arrested this week had been released by Friday, although six of them remain under investigation for allegedly helping in the logistics for the vote.

An official in Iraq's Kurdish region said that Iraqi and Iranian units began exercises at 11 a.m. local time "only 250 meters from the border". "Meetings will be held to discuss the details", he said.

The atmosphere for the talks was a far cry from Erdogan's last visit to Tehran in April 2015 when a speech he gave just days before sparked demands from some Iranian lawmakers for it to be cancelled.

The two governments have taken opposing sides in the six-year civil war in Syria but relations have thawed this year with them both joining Russian Federation as co-sponsors of peace talks which began in Kazakstan in January.

Baghdad imposed a ban on all global flights to Kurdish airports on Friday, while Tehran has ordered a halt to all trade in fuel products with Iraqi Kurdistan.

Mr Erdogan said on Saturday that Iraqi Kurdistan "will pay a price" for the "unacceptable" referendum.

For his part, O'Donovan said that Ireland is determined to expand cooperation with Iran.

The Turkish president was accompanied on the trip by a number of high-ranking ministers.

"Holding the referendum in Iraq's Kurdistan will help the Western-Zionist-Arab front supporting Takfiri terrorism achieve its objectives and is definitely in contradiction to the interests of the Iraqi people, particularly the Kurds", Shamkhani said.


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